Derrick White trade: Brad Stevens assesses risk of 2028 pick swap with Spurs


The Boston Celtics made a splash at the 2022 NBA trade deadline Thursday by acquiring point guard Derrick White from the San Antonio Spurs.

The Celtics gave several assets for White, including forward Josh Richardson, forward Romeo Langford, a protected 2022 first-round draft pick and a 2028 first-round pick swap (top-1 protected).

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Richardson is a quality defender, but probably wasn't in the Celtics' long-term plans. Langford was a 2019 first-round pick but wasn't able to earn a consistent role off the bench, primarily due to injuries. The 2022 first-rounder is a valuable asset, but it probably will be a pick in the low 20s. 

The one that sticks out as something the Celtics might regret moving is the 2028 pick swap.

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Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens acknowledged there is a risk that this 2028 swap could end up hurting the team.

"That can go either way. That's the one you lose sleep over for a couple of days," Stevens told reporters Friday. "But I think the analysis of that is we have some really good players, and we have a person (White) who we think fits in perfectly with them as another really good player and can only make them better."

White is a really good player, especially defensively. He should be a tremendous fit alongside Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. He's also not a rental -- he's just 27 years old and signed to a team-friendly contract through 2024-25.

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Still, it's risky to give up a pick swap so far into the future. Six years from now is an eternity by NBA standards. The Celtics could look entirely different in 2028. The Brooklyn Nets probably didn't think their 2017 pick swap with the Celtics would be a huge deal when they included it in the famous 2013 trade involving Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. It wound up being the No. 1 pick and eventually Tatum. 

You do have to give up real assets to acquire quality players such as White, though, and there's no question the Celtics have a better roster today than they did before Thursday's trade deadline.

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